Anen Dawa, the last surviving personal bodyguard of Tibetan spiritual leader who escorted him during the 1959 escape to India, died at the age of 83 in Minnesota, US, a report on exile Tibetan government’s official website Tibet.net says.
He died peacefully with his family by his side, it added.
Born in 1939, Anen Dawa was only 15 when he joined the personal army of the Dalai Lama in Norbulingka, Tibet. After four years, he was formally inducted in the army and continued to serve as personal guard to the Dalai Lama through his schooling in Sera, Drepung and Gaden monasteries for the next 4 years,
In the most critical turn of events in March 1959, when the Tibetan uprising was crushed and the threat of Chinese military attacks was ever-growing, on the fateful night of March 17 1959, Dalai Lama accompanied by tens of thousands of Tibetans fled into exile to India.
Dawa was the one of the guards who accompanied the Dalai Lama. On arriving safely in India on March 31, the accompanying personal bodyguards and a group of volunteers returned to Tibet to mount a resistance against the Chinese forces.
At the time as the youngest of them, Dawa and another bodyguard were asked by the spiritual leader to accompany him to Mussourie where he established his first residence.
In accordance with the Dalai Lama’s instructions, he joined the Tibetan Homes School founded in Mussourie as one of its first 50 students and later served in the Central Tibetan Administration as a translator and facilitator for Tibetan refugees arriving in Nepal.
He then pursued his further studies in the US. He immigrated to Minnesota through the resettlement policy in 1966.